Mal: Danti, Nagadanti;
Importance: Danti or Nagadanti is a stout undershrub with numerous flowers. Root, which is the officinal part, is used in abdominal pain, constipation, calculus, general anasarca, piles, helminthic manifestations, scabies, skin disorders, suppurative ulcers and diseases caused by the morbidity of kapha and pitta. Root paste is applied to painful swellings and piles. Leaves cure asthma and seeds are used in snakebite (Kurup et al, 1979; Sharma, 1983). The drug forms an important constituent of preparations like Dantyarishta, Dantiharitakileham, Kaisoraguggulu gulika, etc.(Sivarajan et al, 1994).
Distribution: The plant is found throughout the sub-Himalayan tracts from Kashmir to Khasi Hills. It is common in West Bengal, Bihar and Central and Peninsular India.
Botany: Baliospermum montanum (Willd.) Muell-Arg. syn. B. axillare Bl., B. polyandrum Wt. belongs to the family Euphrobiaceae. It is a stout under-shrub 0.9-1.8m in height with herbaceous branches from the roots. Leaves are simple, sinuate-toothed, upper ones small, lower ones large and sometimes palmately 3-5 lobed. Flowers are numerous, arranged in axillary racemes with male flowers above and a few females below. Fruits are capsules, 8-13mm long and obovoid. Seeds are ellipsoid smooth and mottled (Warrier et al,1993).
Agrotechnology: The tropical plant is suited to almost all soils. It can be cultivated either as pure crop or intercrop. It is propagated vegetatively by cuttings. About 15-20cm long rooted cuttings are used for planting. Pits of size 50cm cube are to be taken at 3m spacing and filled with dried cowdung, sand and top soil and formed into a mound. On these mounds, rooted cuttings are to be planted at 2 cuttings/mound. Cuttings establish within one month. Weeding is to be carried out at this time. Application of organic manure after every 6 months is beneficial. Irrigation during summer months is preferable. The plant is not attacked by any serious pests or diseases. Roots can be collected at the end of second year. The roots are to be cut and dried in sun before marketing. The yield is about one tonne root/ha (Prasad et al,1997).
Properties and activity: Roots contain diterpenes, baliospermin, montanin, phorbol-12-deoxy-13-O-palmitate, phorbol-12-deoxy-16-hydroxy-13-O-palmitate and phorbol-12-deoxy-5 -hydroxy-13 – myristate (Ogura et al, 1978). Alcoholic extract of plant showed hypotensive activity in experimental animals (Bhakuni et al, 1971). Antilukaemic and cytotoxic activities have been demonstrated in the esters of both 12-deoxyphorbol and 12-deoxy-16-hydroxyphorbol, isolated from B. montanum (King-horn, 1979). The roots are acrid, thermogenic, purgative, antiinflammatory, anodyne, digestive, anthelmintic, diuretic, diaphoretic, rubefacient, febrifuge and tonic. Seed is purgative, stimulant, rubefacient and antidote for snakebite. Seed oil is antirheumatic. Leaf is antiasthmatic and wound healing. Root and seed oil is cathartic and antidropsical. Stem is anti-dontalgic.